Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
352-291-5999 | 352-816-1264
OCALA (Oct. 18, 2019) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 3.7 percent in September, down 0.7 percentage point over the month and 0.4 percentage point lower than the same time last year.
The modest drop in the jobless rate seemingly belies strong economic improvement across all three indicators: the labor force expanded over the year by 4,213 to 205,868, which is also an increase of 1,456 compared to August; the number of those with jobs increased by 2,924 over the month to 198,308, which is 4,914 more than September 2018; and there were 7,560 unemployed in the region, 1,468 fewer than August and a drop of 701 over the year.
According to today’s release of the September employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.3 percent, down from the August rate of 4.0 percent; Marion County’s rate is 3.5 percent, a 0.7 percentage point drop over the month; and Citrus County’s rate fell nearly a full point from 5.2 percent to 4.3 percent.
Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – is 3.0 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point over the month and down from 3.6 percent a year ago.
The jobless rate in Marion County is the lowest September rate in the 29-year period since data has been tracked. The two previous lowest September rates were 3.6 percent in 1999 and 2006. The lowest September rate for Levy County was 2.9 percent in 1999. Citrus County lowest September rate was 4.0 percent in 2005 and 2006.
CareerSource CLM’s CEO Rusty Skinner said “this month’s report shows significant improvement in all three counties, not only from the August indicators, but reductions in the unemployment rate and the related indicators from September 2018 …This movement is a positive sign of an improved economy in our region and underscores the challenge that our business community faces in talent recruitment.”
Skinner noted that with nearly 7,600 still unemployed and in search of a job, and challenges businesses face, CareerSource CLM continues to seek new ways to help meet the region’s workforce needs.
“Recently, we’ve added an online skill development program, 180 Skills, that can assist those searching for employment and in need of critical skills to qualify for those careers,” he said.
Citrus County’s labor force grew by 212 over the month to 48,588, the number of employed rose by 631 to 46,485 while the number of unemployed fell by 419 to 2,103. Compared to September 2018, when the jobless rate was 4.8 percent, the labor force has expanded by 378, there are 573 more employed and a decrease of 195 unemployed.
Levy County’s labor force expanded by 306 to 17,276, the number of those with jobs increased by 415 to 16,711, and the number of unemployed decreased by 109 to 565. That’s an over-the-year increase of 230 in the labor force, 272 more working and drop of 42 unemployed when the rate was 3.6 percent.
Marion County’s labor force grew by 938 to 140,004, the number of those with jobs rose by 1,878 to 135,112 and the number of unemployed fell by 940 to 4,892. Compared to September 2018, when the rate was 3.9 percent, the labor force has expended by 3,605, there are 4,069 more employed and 464 fewer unemployed.
Nonfarm employment in September for the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 107,700, an increase of 3,200 jobs over the year for a job growth rate of 3.1 percent.
The Homosassa Springs MSA’s nonfarm employment was 33,800, an increase of 300 new jobs over the year for a job growth rate of 0.9 percent.
The Ocala MSA had the third fastest annual job growth rate compared to all other metro areas in the state in manufacturing at 5.9 percent and education and health services at 5.8 percent.
Industries that grew faster in the Ocala metro than statewide over the year were mining, logging and construction, an increase of 500 jobs for a total of 8,400 jobs for (+6.3 percent); manufacturing, 500 new jobs for a total of 9,000 jobs; education and health services, adding 1,100 new jobs for a total of 20,000; leisure and hospitality, adding 600 jobs for a total of 13,100 (+4.8 percent); government, adding 200 jobs for a total of 15,200 (+1.3 percent); and trade, transportation and utilities, adding 300 for a total of 24,600 (+1.2 percent)
Professional and business services also gained over the year, adding 100 new jobs for a total of 9,900 (+1.0 percent).
Financial activities, with 3,900 jobs, and other services, with 2,900 jobs, were unchanged over the year. Information lost 100 jobs for a total of 700 jobs.
A review of employment data for September shows that unemployment rates fell over the month in all 67 counties. Compared to September 2918, rates dropped in 62 counties, increased in three counties, remained the same in two counties. The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state was Hendry County at 7.1 percent. Citrus County tied with Highlands County for the third highest rate; Marion County tied with Charlotte, Dixie and Polk counties with the 15th highest rate; and Levy County tied with Holmes, Pasco and Taylor counties with the 23rd highest rate.
Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA tied with the Sebring MSA for the highest rate and the Ocala MSA joined Lakeland-Winterhaven, Port St. Lucie and Punta Gorda metros with the fifth highest rate.
The region’s employment summary for October will be released on Friday, Nov. 15.
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